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Lamont Joseph White: Pursuit of Passion through Painting & Sport

In the pursuit of personal connection in life, sport and art, Lamont Joseph White is an artist who is at the forefront of fine art and the portrayal of diverse characters in sport. Inspired by his life, his observations on race and privilege, his connection to the outdoor world, art and snowboarding - he was an indisputable candidate to take on the project of creating the film poster for TGR’s latest film, Mountain Revelations.

Mountain Revelations showcases the diverse stories between pro snowboarders Jeremy Jones, Ryan Hudson and Rafael Pease. Set in the harsh terrain of Alaska, the setting lends itself as an appropriate catalyst to examine race in the outdoors. Here, the realities and stark disparity of each athlete’s respective journeys are revealed with a candidness and honest reflection that makes the mountain challenges pale in comparison to the everyday challenges that too many people continue to face every day.

Originally from the metropolitan area of New York City, and now a local of Park City, Utah, Lamont’s previous work was found mainly in illustrations for campaigns and editorials with companies like Adidas, Converse, Amalfi Shoes, Cole Haan and more. His most recent focuses are primarily in his collections of fine art, which have been in exhibitions in Ski Utah Headquarters, Snowbird resort, Christian Center of Park City, among various art galleries in NYC.

The command that Lamont’s work has is undeniable: Displaying demanding portraits and figures of color in a predominantly and historically white space not only shows a starkly appealing visual, but also represents both the metaphysical and literal absence of color in a place of privilege. Lamont’s poster art for Mountain Revelations, based on a photo taken by Matthew Tufts, reveals the extraordinary and illuminating portrayal of different people through their appearance and personalities all in a space that is cradled by a striking commonality: love for the space that we all seek to be in - the mountains.

Check out the interview below, where Lamont and I talk about art, sport, passion, the importance of representation, diversity and inclusion in the outdoors, and the poster art behind TGR’s latest film, Mountain Revelations. 

TGR: In your work, the theme of diversity and inclusion in sport are pertinent. What are some of the experiences that you’ve had, or observations you’ve made in your life, that have inspired you to do this type of art?

I grew up in a very inclusive and diverse family and environment in the New York metropolitan area. There's racism everywhere, but I think the trigger for my artwork and inspiration for me, was the compounded years and moments of being other, and being the only. It made me think: How do I feel about that? Is there anything that I can do as an artist to speak to that, and be part of the conversation?

TGR: Can you speak a little to who you are as a person and an artist, and the inspiration behind the poster art for Mountain Revelations?

Sure. I'm an artist who snowboards, I live in Park City, and I'm a person of color. So, Mountain Revelations and creating the poster for it were both really personal for me. Those spaces that are sort of ultra white are always something that I think myself and other people of color recognize where we are and where we're not, or where we're just a few and when we are other, when we are the only one. This thought came to me, that probably one of the furthest distances in the American experience is that from the slave ship to the ski slope. In my mind, what does that look like? What does that mean to me? When you think about the chasm between those two places and how I'm even here now, and what it means to the larger groups of Black skiers that have been around for decades now, but kind of feel safe to be amongst their own... they're just looking to have a good time on the mountain and enjoy the space.

I've been an artist for a long time. I've been an illustrator for many years, and I work digitally as well. I sold artwork to a lot of manufacturers and retailers: illustrations, pattern work, surface design work. But I've always painted and I've always had a pull to get back to using my hands. That's the core of who I am as an artist. My oil paintings are probably the flagship of my work. I like to put them into galleries, and that's probably where I can go the deepest. A lot of what I've done in the past has been strictly what the client had in mind. I’ve decided at this point, I want to be able to go more personal in my technique and in my subject matter. 

TGR: How did you get connected with Mountain Revelations?

Several months back, I had done a painting of Ryan because he’s a local in Utah and I saw him killing it on the mountain. He had seen some of my work, and reached out to show appreciation for the representation I was showing in my art amongst Black skiers and snowboarders. Prior to really knowing who he was, I saw what he was doing on the mountain in terms of being a professional snowboarder. I thought, “Wow, this guy's pretty amazing.” I appreciate his support for what I'm doing. It was one of those things where if I'm inspired by something or someone, I'll do a piece. That’s what it was, when it came to Ryan. I did an illustration of him and I wanted to just send it to him, but then I put it on Instagram and it got a little traction… that led to one of the things that had some influence on me doing this poster for Mountain Revelations.

Painting of Mountain Revelations athlete Ryan Hudson by Lamont Joseph White.

TGR: After creating the poster for the film, or after getting to know Ryan in this shared space of the mountains, do you feel like you connect with any of the other athletes or see yourself in them?

Yeah, absolutely. I love snowboarding, the mountains and being in outdoor spaces. There's a spirituality to it for me. I always feel really fortunate, and I think in those fortunate spaces, where there's a lack of representation, where Black and Brown people are a super minority, I felt inclined to highlight that by painting only Black skiers in my “Skiing in Color” collection, which is an ongoing collection for me.

TGR: When did you start your “Skiing in Color” Collection? What was the inspiration behind it?

A while ago, a friend of mine invited me to ski at this resort in Austria. Again, I was the only person of color there. I was like, “Okay, what do you expect?” It just drove it home, like, okay, this is where the sport came from, but it’s kinda part of the story... right? It wasn't long after that trip that I was like, I'm going to paint Black skiers because I just don't see many. When I got back to Utah, I did an exhibition with subjects like moose, elk, skiers... but something hit me where I decided “I'm totally not doing this anymore. This is not what I do.” I found a couple of Black ski events online, and I ended up going to one in Tahoe called BlackOut. I went because I just wanted to see what was going on, what the Black culture in a ski resort looks like, what it meant, what it was… and because I just quite honestly didn't know what it was - it hasn't been my experience.

In January of 2020, I started the “Skiing in Color” series in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. After reaching out to the non profit Christian Center of Park City, they agreed to show the exhibit. Ski Utah had then asked if I’d be open to them exhibiting the work at their headquarters. Once I had that exhibit up, the response to it was actually immediate, like faster than immediate, quite frankly. People were like, “What is this?”

TGR: As an avid outdoorsman and someone that values diversity and inclusion in spaces that are predominately white, what do you think is really important as an artist, an athlete, someone that recreates outside, or just a human being, why is it important to see films, like Mountain Revelations, continue to blossom in the outdoor industry?

One of the constants in the conversations I've been having about diversity and inclusion in the outdoors is that this is a long road and along that road, there’s going to be thousands of activations along the way. Each of those activations, like Mountain Revelations, is going to be a step forward on that road, and that’s important. This road is a conversation because these roads are not just activities, but we can have conversations on that activity as well. Ones that not only lead to real change, but also a normalization of Black and Brown people in the outdoor spaces and life in general. Snowboarding in these spaces for me is a tool. It’s very personal for me, but it helps that that bleeds over into one's life and into one's thinking. Even when I get pushed back about my work, like, why is there such a small minority of people who actually care, and why are they all Black? That’s proving my point.

My work is meant to celebrate the people: Black and Brown people, who are there to invite Black and Brown people who are not there yet, but it's also for the people who don't yet understand the importance of representation. In predominantly White spaces, people just don't quite understand the importance of it - and that may just be because they never needed to. They've been in a fortunate or privileged enough position that they didn't have to think about it. I understand that, but if you listen to some of the stories of Black and Brown people who are confronted with comments or looks, or conversations that make them feel uncomfortable in spaces that they have a right to be in, those have the potential to be wonderful, healthy spaces. If my art can be part of that catalyst, then I'd be thrilled.

A film like Mountain Revelations, you've got three different guys coming from three different places and sets of experiences, and they are having conversations about all of those things while enjoying the exact same elements that they're in. That’s profound. To the diversity and inclusion in the film, it’s a powerful statement to make. 

TGR: A powerful statement in moving imagery in the sense of the film, but also in your poster art. What was the inspiration for creating the final poster for Mountain Revelations? What is the relationship between you painting figures and focusing on character, in a project that’s set in a landscape that you also have a personal connection to?

What I love about the poster that I did, was that it was just so timely for me because my goal is to increase the awareness of inclusion and the importance of representation in the outdoors. Several photos from the trip were sent to me, and I was trying to grab at what I felt would work best. I had done one sketch that was more portrait based and we were trying to get the right images for me to work from. At one point, Drew (the film’s executive producer) said to me, “What about this image here?” and I was like, “I would love to paint that.” We needed to reorganize the figures a little bit and created a multicolored sky to put in there. We just took some artistic license with the imagery and to reiterate and interpret it … it's a can't miss, gorgeous image.

The photo of Rafa, Ryan, and Jeremy that inspired the film poster. Matthew Tufts photo. 

Poster for TGR's 'Mountain Revelations.' 

This film is perfect timing for me in my heart. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in it. I'm super honored, especially for a company like TGR, to pull me in. I'm really humbled to be able to partner up with these guys who snowboard in ways that I don't think I'll ever be able to reach. Well, maybe not this year. 

TGR: There is a beautiful and meaningful connection that doesn’t get much acknowledgement between the connectivity of movement and creation within the realms of art and sport. Creating art for a movie that is centered around athletes of color and after talking to you, the connection is so clear. Seeing representation in art and sport, especially if you see somebody that does or doesn’t look like you doing an activity that you normally don’t do - there is a deeply emotive experience in that.

Absolutely, I love that: the comparison or conversation of art and sport. I always tell people I'm an artist who snowboards, not a snowboarder who makes art, but I am always trying to improve in both areas. One of the commonalities between the two is, whenever I find myself sort of in this flow state of mind, whether it's making art, or it's snowboarding, it's like, “Man, the art is really coming through me almost without thinking,” or gliding down the hill on my snowboard is coming through me without thinking, too. Those sort of processes when we get into that state of flow, I love. In both cases you are creating, you're constantly making decisions. Once you get into that flow state, you're in a healthy place.

TGR: I’m also thinking of athletes trying on different styles or techniques, like an artist would do, and then finally doing something that feels right, and then getting recognized for that thing. It’s so connected.

That was something I definitely want to think even more about, because I've had those conversations, and I think there's a lot more to dig out of those comparisons, in those different activities. We’re creating on the mountain as well. We're making decisions where we're taking risks. There's a lot of overlap, and I love it all, but for me, it's always about growth - because in both of those spaces, I'm always learning. That’s what I’m passionate about.

TGR: One last thing - what kind of advice would you give to your younger self, or someone that wants to pursue a career in the arts, or as an artist?

Don’t ignore the thing that's tugging at your heart. That's tugging at your soul. Don't dismiss it. Because I never let that go, it presented the opportunity for me to create the art that I'm making now. Stay persistent and tenacious and don't stop. I had a successful career in design and illustration, but this thing kept pulling at me. So, whatever that thing is that’s pulling at you, don't ignore it. Keep grabbing at it. As soon as you could find the opportunity to really give it the time it deserves, take that opportunity. That's just my story. I would also say: Listen. Listen to yourself, but listen to others who you love and respect what they have to say about your best self.


Lamont’s advice reigns true to what is at the core of the film: Listen to yourself and your passion, regardless of circumstance. Listen to one another. Learn from each other. We are a world of images: Between galleries, social platforms, advertisements, television, movies, even prehistoric petroglyphs, images shape our reality. They portray what we want, maybe what we had, or what we didn’t know we needed. In terms of representation in outdoor spaces - Lamont’s art, and a film like Mountain Revelations, are images that, in a grandiose sense, are way overdue. So, what can we do now? Embrace, learn, adapt, and through art and community - begin to create a new reality.

Click here to see Mountain Revelations at a theater near you.

Check out more of Lamont’s work here. 

About The Author

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